Being 28 years old and someone who doesn’t need an excuse to listen to good music and drink, I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve only been to a total of 4 concerts in my lifetime. One of those concerts happened to take a little while back at The Wiltern in Hollywood. I’d booked tickets to see Zemfira two months in advance and I was super excised for the fact that it was on a Tuesday because being a bartender and all, my ‘weekend’ pretty much always falls on a weekday.
As per usual, we got ready, pre-gamed and Ubered off to the venue which was of course filled with a bunch of Russians; because who else would go see a concert like that if not a crowd of people that have loved her since we were all back in the USSR, when the current rock star was just starting out on her road to fame. The bartender was the first person we saw after security and surprise surprise, he was Russian as well; and a friend! Side note: when a bartender hooks you up, it doesn’t mean you walk away with a free drink, leaving no tip. He told us later that a bunch of people did that. Shame on you…
He poured our drinks and sent us off into the crowd as the first set was about to start. The show was great. She did a nice mix of her new songs which were fun to listen to regardless of the lack of lyrics knowledge; and more than a few of her old ones which of course everybody loved and sang along with in unison. At one point, between the songs she made a public announcement. She said “Guys. Stop. Security, please don’t touch the people.” That’s my girl!!! She was very engaging and totally rocked the stage. We were almost all the way in the back and we could very much feel her presence. The show was about two hours long. After it was over and she and her band disappeared from the stage, the crowd went wild of course. An obligatory encore was in order. It wasn’t long before they all came back out again and played a few more songs for us dedicated fans. For 40 more minutes! Definitely the longest encore in my history, and we’re nothing if not grateful.
The autograph signing that took place next was completely unexpected. I was standing with a bunch of people in what they referred to as the smoking area. Next thing you know, Zemfira shows up in the alley right behind us. Tolerating people’s commentary and praises from a distance for long enough, she and her “bodyguards” finally made their way towards us, telling us she’ll gladly sign people’s ‘whatever they got’. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have anything! I tried to give her a dollar to sign but the guy said that it’s not allowed… I ended up giving her a flyer for another concert that’s coming up; how embarrassing. I would have rather given her my chest to sign to be honest but something tells me that that wouldn’t have gone over too well. This other girl got her passport signed, which I thought was pretty cool.
Coming off our high from meeting an awesome celebrity and being within just feet away from her talented face, we decided not to let the night end there. After a quick stop at one of my favorite bars Karma Lounge and saying hello to a friend, we ended up at some other bar that had “86” in its name. The location of its entrance remains somewhat of a secret. We were led down a hallway by a girl who specifically advised us that taking pictures weren’t allowed before she revealed the cave with music and lounge chairs, which we entered through a door disguised as a vending machine. Aside from the hipstery vibe of the secrecy behind the whole thing, the place was pretty cool; dim lighting, great music and a generous hallway outside for people to indulge in their smoking habits whilst flirting with one another. What was way cooler though, was the Taco Truck right outside the joint. Boy did we stuff our faces… I even took two burritos ‘to go’ – it was that good. Also I’m a fatass.
As we were about to Uber our tired asses home, an older Armenian gentleman offered to take us. Contemplating for less than 3 seconds about whether or not we should accept such a generous gesture from a stranger, we agreed. He ended up being a very nice guy. He did exactly what he promised to do; he took us home. Sure, he asked me for my phone number at the end, but ultimately he was harmless.
Overall, my Tuesday night was quite adventurous. Though the highlight of the night was obviously seeing a Russian Rock Star perform live in LA, plenty more things took place that added to the randomness that is my life: pre-gaming with vodka which I simply despise (there was nothing else at the moment), watching people move to grunge music as they are most likely high out of their minds, eating Mexican food after midnight, chilling at hipster bars, taking advantage of free Armenian taxi rides and doing it all while managing to be in bed by two. I think it’s safe to say we rocked it.